Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa, He was born to a South African father name Errol Musk.
His father worked as a mechanical and electrical engineer and handled large projects such as office buildings, retail complexes, residential subdivisions, and an air force base.
His mother’s name is Maye Musk (née Haldeman), a model and dietitian from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Maye set up a practice as a dietician.
He has a younger brother, Kimbal (born 1972), and a younger sister, Tosca (born 1974). His paternal grandmother was British, and he also has Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. His maternal grandfather was American, from Minnesota.
Following his parent’s separation of marriage in 1980, Musk lived mostly with his father in the suburbs of Pretoria, which Musk choose two years after his parents split up, but now says was “not a good idea”.
As an adult, Musk has severed relations with his father. He has a half-sister and half-brother.
During his childhood, Musk was a voracious reader. According to his brother, Kimbal, he recalled, from a very young age, he seemed to have a book in his hands at all times. “It was not unusual for him to read ten hours a day, If it was the weekend, he could go through two books in a day.”
He cited an instance where the family went on numerous shopping excursions in which they realised mid-trip that Elon had gone missing.
His siblings would pop into the nearest bookstore and find Elon somewhere near the
back sitting on the floor and reading in one of his trance-like states.”
As Elon got older, he would take himself to the bookstore
when school ended at 2 p.m and stay
there until about 6 p.m, when his parents returned home from work. He would plough through fiction books and then comics and then non-fiction titles.
“Sometimes they kicked me out of the store, but usually not,” Elon said. He listed The Lord of the Rings, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, and Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress some of his favourites alongsideThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“At one point, I ran out of books to read at the school library and the neighbourhood library,” Musk said.
“This is maybe the third or fourth grade. I tried to convince the librarian to order books for me. So then, I started to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica. That was so helpful. You don’t know what you don’t know. You realize there are all these things out there.”
At age 10, he developed an interest in computing with the Commodore VIC – 20. He was a self-taught programmer by age 12, sold the code of a BASIC-based video game he created named Blaster,to a magazine called PC and Office Technology, for approximately $500.
Musk had a very rough childhood as he was severely bullied in school and was once hospitalised when a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs and then beat him until he passed out.
It’s easy enough to notice some of the underpinnings of Musk’s quest for purpose. Growing up in a city that is just an hour drive from Johannesburg in South Africa in the 70s’ where a threat of apartheid was present throughout his childhood.
Musk was four years old just days after the Soweto Uprising, in which hundreds of black students died while protesting decrees of the white government. For years South Africa faced sanctions imposed by other nations due to its racist policies.
Musk had the opportunity of travelling abroad during his childhood and would have gotten an idea of how outsiders viewed South Africa.
But what had even more of an impact on Musk’s personality was the white Afrikaner culture so prevalent in Pretoria and the surrounding areas.
His idea that something about the world had gone wrong received regular boosting, and Musk, almost from his
earliest days, plotted an escape from his surroundings and dreamed of a place that would allow his
personality and dreams to thrive.
He saw America as the land of opportunity and the perfect place to actualise his ambitions.
This is how it came to pass that a lonesome, gawky South African boy who talked with the utmost sincerity about pursuing “collective enlightenment” ended up as America’s most adventurous industrialist.
He moved to Canada in June 1989, just before the his18th birthday, after obtaining a Canadian passport through his Canadian-born mother.
Musk attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School before graduating from Pretoria High School.
At the age of 17, Musk was accepted into Queens University in Ontario for undergraduate study. In 1992, after spending two years at Queen’s University.
Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where in May 1997 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from its College of Arts and Sciences.
He also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Wharton School of Business. Musk extended his studies for one year to finish the second bachelor’s degree.
Musk collaborated with the fellow student, name Ressi who also was a transfer student. Ressi is a lanky guy well over six feet tall and is also very artistic, the lack of enough social scene did not live up to Ressi’s expectations, and he talked Musk into renting a large house off campus.
They got the ten-bedroom home relatively cheap since it was a fraternity house that had gone unrented.
During the week, Musk and Ressi would study, but as the weekend approached, Ressi, in particular, would turn the house into a nightclub.
In 1995, at age 24, Musk moved to California to begin a PhD in Applied Physics and material science at Stanford University.
He abandoned the program after just two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations in the areas of the internet, renewable energy and outer space. In 2002, he became a U.S. citizen.
In 1999, Elon co-founded x.com, an online payment platform which later merges with what is now called Paypal.
By the year 2002, Paypal was acquired by eBay for a whopping sum of $1.5 billion in stock.
Musk established his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the sole aim of building spacecraft for commercial space travel.
By 2008, SpaceX was well founded, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station.
Elon started Tesla in 2003, Tesla’s mission has been to increase the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future.
The first Tesla product, the Roadster sports car, debuted in 2008, followed by the Model S sedan, which was introduced in 2012, and theModel X SUV, which launched in 2015.
Tesla began deliveries of Model 3, a $35,000 mass-market electric car with over 215 miles of range, and unveiled Tesla Semi, which is designed to save owners at least $200,000 over a million miles based on fuel costs alone.
Tesla also produces two energy storage products, the Powerwall home battery and the Powerpack industrial-scale battery.
In 2016, Tesla was the world’s first vertically-integrated sustainable energy company with the purchase of SolarCity, the top provider of solar power systems in the United States, and in 2017 released Solar Roof, a beautiful and affordable energy generation product.
As of December 2017, Elon Musk’s net worth is$20.2 billion, according to Forbes.
He made his first billion with the sale of PayPal in 2002, his company SpaceX is valued at $21.2 billion.
In April 2017, Tesla announced that it surpassed General Motors to become the most valuable U.S. car maker.
The news was an obvious boon to Tesla, which was looking to ramp up production and release its Model 3 sedan later that year.
The Tesla Model S was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 was the first privately built rocket to successfully send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.
SpaceX was also the first private company to safely bring an ISS-docked spacecraft back to earth.
One of the quality that distinct SpaceX as the company is that Musk was able to launch his rockets for just a fraction of the cost of federal agencies.
Not only had he made private space-exploration possible, but he also made it cheaper when compared to other competing corporations.
In 2006, Musk served as a member of the United States National Academy of Science Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
He was named Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2007 for his work on Tesla and SpaceX by Inc Magazine in 2007.
Musk was elected a Fellow of theRoyal Society (FRS) in 2018.
On August 7, 2018, Musk dropped a bombshell via a tweet: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
The announcement sent Tesla stock spiking before it closed the day up 11 per cent.Meanwhile, the CEO followed up with a letter on the company blog, calling the move to go private “the best path forward.”
He promised to retain his stake in the company and added that he would set up a special fund to help all current investors remain on board.
However, the announcement also opened the doors for legal action against the company and its founder, as the SEC began inquiring about whether Musk had actually obtained the funding as declared.
On the same note, some investors filed lawsuits on the grounds that Musk was looking to affect stock prices and lure short sellers with his tweet.
On August 24, one day after meeting with the Board, Musk announced that he had a rethink and would not be taking the company private.
Some of his reasons, he noted the preference of most Directors to keep Tesla public, as well as the issues of retaining some of the large shareholders who were restricted from investing in a private company.
In December 2015, Elon announced the creation of OpenAl, a non-for-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company.Open AI purpose is to develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to mankind.
The following year, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology startup company to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence.
The company is centred on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the sole aim of helping to merge human being with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence.
By December 17, 2016, same year Neuralink was established, while stuck in traffic, Musk tweeted “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”
The company was named ‘The Boring Company’.On January 21, 2017, Musk tweeted
“Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.”The first tunnel will start on the SpaceX campus, and will probably go to a nearby parking garage.”
In February 2017, the company commenced digging a 30-foot-wide, 50-foot-long, and 15-foot-deep “test trench” on the premises of Space X’s offices in Los Angeles.